Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Midnight Traffic Report, Part 2

The teenage years slipped away from Wyatt. He had barely finished high school, but would never miss a traffic jam at the community channel. His hard work paid off as he would report some of the finest traffic collisions in Texas history. 

One day, he was riding into work, but when he went to dismount and strut into the community channel building, his manager came flying around the corner. "Whoa," he hollered. Absentmindedly driving in to start his day at work, the manager hopped a curb and crashed into Bobby Joe, causing major internal injuries. Wyatt lost his prize-winning horse and went on to do the traffic, but cried at work that day. His camerawoman and manager laughed at him for being a big baby. The traffic man was left with a bitter taste in his mouth. It was never the same.

Wyatt continued his traffic reporting career; but his heart wasn’t in Wheelerville, and he never followed directions from his TV producer. Sometimes he could be heard sulking in the corner of the studio, whistling a depressed country tune.

It was a hot and humid summer afternoon in Wheelerville and Wyatt had finished reporting for the day. “And that’s the traffic in your neck of the woods. I’m going to Marilyn’s Mercantile.”

The stout woman quickly turned off the camera. “See ya tomorrow.”

“Have a good day,” he said and walked away with proud confidence.

The blue-eyed wrangler took off his cowboy hat. He sighed, brushed his gorgeous blonde locks and admired his hair and tight abdominal muscles. His stunningly handsome good looks were the trademark of traffic in Wheelerville. All he could do was admire his lean and well-toned body in one of many mirrors around the modest studio with historical appeal.

The 21-year-old would enjoy talking to himself, “What are you gonna do?” His mom was concerned about his attitude and she encouraged him to take up hobbies or try reading more. After the shoot was over, he feverishly talked to himself, “I’m gonna have myself a tuna fish sandwich and buy me my first book.” It was all about him and he loved to admire his fine acting chops.

Wyatt looked very hungry. He walked out of the studio room and proceeded out the back door of the friendly building. Slowly walking towards Marilyn’s Mercantile, there was drool coming out the side of his mouth, but he didn't know and couldn't wipe it away to save face. There were beaded lights shining on the shop entry doors that greeted him every day. After ordering his usual tuna fish sandwich, he browsed up and down the aisles of the half-empty shop. There were so many books. There were so many fashion magazines. Wyatt was very familiar with magazines. He loved to flip through the pictures of attractive women in advertisements of hip fashion magazines. Gazing at the top shelf, he looked at a book of poetry by Robert Frost. His eyes widened, undoubtedly remembering that being read to him in seventh grade. “I’ve taken that road before.” His mind was preoccupied.

A middle-aged woman turned around, looked at him and took note of the young man. The lonesome traffic reporter read the title to a book singing to him out of the blue. The book was called Forty Singing Seamen And Other Poems and the book almost cried out to him. He grabbed the book by Alfred Noyes and stood in the checkout line, but he was uncertain it would keep his interest and he wondered if this was the first book he would read. Giving up the internal debate, he bought the book and walked out of the store. He was desperate to give the book a good home.

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